Tasmanian industries will be encouraged to take greater responsibility for managing the environmental risks of their businesses under new draft regulations released this month.
The regulations outline a revised fee structure to reward management practices that reduce environmental impacts.
Efforts of Tasmanian industries will be recognised by giving permit holders the opportunity to apply for a fee remission on part of their annual permit fee.
The new system seeks to encourage the integration of environmental management systems and tools within overall business management plans.
While annual permit fees will be initially higher, permit holders will be able to reduce fees back to current levels by adopting approved environmental management tools, such as preparing and making publicly available an environmental policy, a public environmental report and/or developing and implementing an environmental management system.
Hourly rate fees for the environmental assessment of large development proposals will be capped to provide certainty to business.
It is proposed to phase in the annual permit fee increase over a two-year period to give operators plenty of opportunity to make the necessary changes required to meet the fee remission criteria.
A new ‘low risk’ annual permit fee is also proposed, which means lower fees for certain industries.
This will include businesses undertaking activities that do not pose a significant risk to the environment, such as small scale activities predominantly in the extractive and wood processing industries.
This will attract a single, fixed fee of approximately which will mean a saving of 50 per cent on the current fee.
Fee changes will apply immediately after the regulations have been gazetted.
The draft regulations are intended to replace the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (General Fees) Regulations 1995 and Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Environmental Improvement Program Fees) Regulations 1994.
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Copies of the documents and more information are available at www.environment.tas.gov.au or by calling 6233 4028.